Both Detroit and Los Angeles received a bit of a scare in the last few days as Miguel Cabrera and Albert Pujols were forced out of games with injuries.
While the Tigers are hopeful Cabrera will be back for Friday night's series opener, the visiting Angels don't seem as optimistic about Pujols' return.Cabrera left Thursday's 3-2, 11-inning win over Toronto in the second with right ankle soreness. The third baseman is one of the leading contenders for the AL MVP with a .326 average, 31 homers, 31 doubles and 105 RBIs, and Detroit (67-57) doesn't believe the injury is too serious."The trainers didn't seem too concerned," manager Jim Leyland told the Tigers' official website. "I talked to Miggy after the game and he didn't seem too concerned."Pujols' return might not be as imminent.He left Wednesday's 7-3 win over Boston in the fourth inning with tightness in his right calf. An MRI on Thursday revealed some inflammation and he didn't play in that evening's 14-13, 10-inning win over the Red Sox.The three-time MVP has a team-high 86 RBIs and leads the majors with 14 homers since the All-Star break -- one more than Cabrera -- and is listed as day-to-day."Hopefully we will get some good news, but we have to wait for these guys to evaluate it," manager Mike Scioscia told the Angels' official website.The Angels (65-60), who dropped three of four in Detroit in July, cannot afford to be without Pujols for long as they trail AL West-leading Texas by 8 1/2 games and are 2 1/2 out in the wild-card race.Los Angeles, however, is hoping a three-game sweep in Boston -- highlighted by Thursday's wild comeback -- can be the emotional spark the team needs.The Angels trailed 6-0 after two innings in the finale before plating eight runs in the third. They scored three in the ninth to take a one-run lead, but Ernesto Frieri gave it back. Kendrys Morales led off the 10th with a homer and Vernon Wells' RBI double proved to be the difference."This team still has some fight in it," Wells said. "We know we have a unique opportunity to do something special and, hopefully, we can continue to take advantage of it."Mike Trout finished with three hits, two RBIs, two runs and two stolen bases, and is batting .390 with 11 runs in his last 10 games. He had two homers and scored six times in Detroit last month.The Tigers, who trail AL Central-leading Chicago by 1 1/2 games and are tied with Baltimore and Oakland for the league's second wild-card spot, are also coming off a three-game sweep despite plating fewer runs (11) than Los Angeles scored Thursday."We didn't do a whole lot this series offensively," Leyland said, "but I know our offense is good. It could break out at any time."Facing Zack Greinke (1-2, 6.19 ERA) could help.Greinke has a 7.20 ERA in his last four starts, yielding at least four earned runs in four consecutive starts for the first time in his nine-year career."It's been a very embarrassing first month (with the Angels)," he said after allowing six runs in six innings of Sunday's 8-3 loss to Tampa Bay. "I'm getting paid a lot to do better than I'm doing."The right-hander, who is making his first appearance against the Tigers since 2010, has never faced former Milwaukee teammate Prince Fielder, who hit .545 with three RBIs against the Angels last month.Greinke has a 2.13 ERA in his past six starts at Comerica Park.The Tigers go with Rick Porcello (9-8, 4.67), who has given up nine runs over 12 innings in losing his last two starts. The righty gave up five runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings against the Angels on July 16.He's 3-1 in six lifetime starts versus Los Angeles despite a 6.29 ERA.
Angels outfielder Torii Hunter has been very successful against Tigers righty Rick Porcello, whom he faces Friday night in Detroit. Hunter is 6-12 with 3 extra-base hits and 6 RBI in his career against Porcello. Through Wednesday, Hunter actually has a higher batting average against righties, .297, than lefties, .289, with 10 of 12 HR and 50 of 59 RBI coming against right-handed pitching.